Since I was on vacation yesterday, I decided to attend Good Shepherd United Methodist church, the 9:45 service. I was alone, for Caty wanted to go to our church, and Sara was home with two sick kids and a third recovering.
At the door I was greeted by a smiling older couple. The lady began to peel a sticker of a sheet and greeted me with, "Would you like an earring?" Not responding quickly, she added, "for ..." I expected the next words to be "your wife." But she said, "your ear." Thoroughly surprised and confused, I politely declined. The woman smiled and said something like, "Well, you just made his day (gesturing toward her companion). He's not wearing one, either."
Shaking off the strangest greeting I've ever received at a church, I hung up my coat and entered the beautiful, fan-style sanctuary, noticing that some men were indeed sporting stickers on their ears. I did not get close enough to see the picture on the stickers. Behind the large organ was Shirley P., my music teacher in the earliest grades and my organ teacher during my teen years. Her prelude, Partito on Foundation (a variation of "How Firm a Foundation") was wonderful. The choir was full and worshipful. The emcee pastor was borderline comedic.
I knew from their website that today their new pastor, Craig D., would be preaching his first sermon. The emcee introduced Craig and his wife in such glowing terms ("Craig is a wonderful pastor and a wonderful preacher," etc.) that I thought he might have put a lot on them to live up to.
I thought it would be interesting to see what a new pastor preached his first Sunday. He preached on Jonah 2, the theme having to do with fear and reaching out to God in the midst of your fears. No notes, no Bible, no lectern, and no stumbling. Just walked about the platform. (He did preach on the text though it wasn't in front of him.) Pretty good. The one thing I missed was any significant reference to Christ. (Do I sometimes preach messages that don't ever talk about Christ? I hope not.)
Service closed with intercessory prayer, some singing, some announcements. When it was over, I looked at my watch. 10:43. My first thought: "Wow! They pack a lot into an hour."
I never did find out what the earrings were for, not in the service, not in the bulletin.
Good service overall.